Hiking

Hiking Tour Guides

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Entrance in Gatlinburg
Great Smoky Mountain National Park Entrance in Gatlinburg

A Walk in the Woods tour guides

The staff are very knowledgeable and will gear their walk to your interests.  You will enjoy botany and biology lessons the whole way along. Hopefully you will learn a great deal from your time on the hikes. You won’t be disappointed in the experience and amazing nuances! This is so educational and the guides are willing to share amazing historical and native stories about our Great Smoky Mountains.

There are group tours and individual tours.  The “personalized” tours are amazing. There are all different hikes and levels.  For example, there are Half Day hikes with a moderate level. The guide will explain a few things about the hike. They may also provide you with a walking stick. You will get to stop for a snack half way into the tour.

Some of the paths ,can be a little bit tough but it will absolutely be worth it and beautiful.  It will be challenging and rewarding at the same time.

The company is knowledgeable and so passionate about what they do. The guides have so much information to share that you will feel that you don’t even exhaust their things to talk about.

http://awalkinthewoods.com/

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Entertainment, Parks

Bluff Mountain Adventures ATV Rides

ATV rideATV Mountain Biking is probably something that you don’t normally do. Why not do it in the Smoky Mountains.  You may also choose to ride the Rhino if you don’t want to ride alone. There is also something called a side by side.

There are 6,000 acres of privately owned land with endless, challenging trails spread throughout. You will ride very nice ATVs over an array of challenging and fun terrain. You will go up hills so steep an ATV can’t make it up unless it’s in 4-wheel drive. You get to ride over very rough rocky patches, through creeks, through deep puddles. The lookouts give you an unbelievable view.

There are several rides to choose from.  Make sure you take the mountain View ride (1 1/2 hour – 2 overlooks) if you want to see some great views.  Ask at the check in about your options.  You will need to call for times.  Go on a clear day.  You will be stopping and taking pictures as well as riding through the wooded terrain.

You must be 16 to ride the ATVs unless you take the one hour tour (which doesn’t go to the overlooks).  The ride never goes over 15-20 MPH.  Most of the ride is about 10MPH.  So, may not be for the more experienced driver.  The guides are great and will help you with your equipment, safety, training, etc..

Don’t forget to wear closed toed shoes.  A scull rag or handkerchief might be nice to put under the helmets they give you. Also wear some old clothes.  Your clothes may get muddy.  You may want to put your camera and cell phone in a plastic bag.  There is a height requirement.  Go early in the morning or you may have to wait.  You may want to bring a bottle of water.

Website:  http://bluffmountainadventures.com/

Address to ticket office:  2186 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Phone:  865-428-7711

Attractions, Hiking

Norwood Boiler below Clingmans Dome

When I was growing up I heard about a train that wrecked on Clingmans Dome and rolled down the mountain.  Apparently the engine is in this spot because the driver was drunk and ran off the rails in the 1920s. It rolled down the mountain and landed in the spot it sits in today.

It is said to be a Nichols and Shepard self-propelled, steam-powered machine, also known as a traction engine. The machine was used to power a lumber saw back in the 1920s to saw wood for the Greenbrier School. During its return trip, the driver couldn’t execute a switchback, and the engine rolled down the mountainside and into the creek below. The steam engine still sits in the same spot of the creek today. The engine sits in Injun Creek, which actually got its name from the steam engine. The creek is called “Injun” Creek because of a mapmaker who misspelled the word

Of course that was a definate legend to chase!  So, a few years ago I found that it was a MYTH.  Here is the story as I know it.  Before 1926 the Norwood Lumber Company clear-cut basically the south side of Clingmans Dome.  There is a lot of evidence remaining.  Many RailRoad grades, skidder trails, rails, coal, etc. are all over the mountain.  The “train” that is below the Dome is actually a boiler which produced steam to operate a winch to pull logs up the mountain to train cars.  If you have been to the massive piece of metal it is lying in its side.

The old steam engine can be found along the Grapeyard Ridge Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  From the Clingmans Dome parking area take the  Grapeyard Ridge Trail toward Andrews Bald.  Turn right onto Forney Creek Trail. Go about a 1/4 mile and look for a crain on the right.  The old RR grade is pretty obvious.  Turn right off Forney Creek trail onto the grade.  You will see rails, coal, etc and then will come upon the boiler.  So, its a MYTH….a train did not wreck on Clingmans Dome!  HOWEVER there is a boiler there!
The hike to the steam engine and back is about 5.8 miles. At 2.85 miles, you’ll reach the top of an incline. Once you make your way down the hill, you’ll see the old wreck and steam engine.
To get to the Grapeyard Ridge Trail, you’ll turn to travel eastbound on Hwy 321 at Traffic Light 3 in Gatlinburg. After driving about 6 miles, turn right into Greenbrier. From the highway, it’s a 3 mile drive to the trailhead. You’ll find a small parking area on the side of the road.
Grapeyard Ridge Trail is considered a relatively moderate trail, so you don’t have to worry about it being too challenging! However, there are a couple inclines along the hike. From the trailhead, the trail gains about 270 feet in elevation in only two-thirds of a mile before you’ll begin a small descent to Rhododendron Creek. You’ll want to be sure to wear waterproof shoes for this hike,Cades Cove
because the trail crosses Rhododendron Creek a total of 5 times on the way to the steam engine. If you’re hoping not to get your feet wet, the summer and fall are the best times to do this hike when high water due to rainfall isn’t as big of an issue. Along the hike, you’ll pass several old homestead sites before climbing the ridge to James Gap. The trail passes through long rhododendron tunnels, and once you reach the top, you’ll make a short descent to Injun Creek, where you’ll see the steam engine. The steam engine is the turnaround point for this hike.
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with excerps from VisitmySmokies.com and reposted here